According to a truly horrifying report released last week by public health lawyer Michele Simon, the information you’re getting from your RD may have made its way to you via Coca-Cola. Seriously.
The 50-page document, which was first reported in the New York Times, details how the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, is in the pocket of the most unhealthy food manufacturers out there, and it consistently allows their influence to affect the information it provides to its members.
This is especially scary since AND is the organization that certifies nutritionists as RDs and is in charge of continuing education courses and credits for these professionals.
Want to know more? Here are the three worst highlights from Simon’s report:
1. AND’s most loyal sponsors are the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, ConAgra, General Mills, Kellogg, and the National Dairy Council. Goodbye China Study, hooray processed foods!
2. Companies that AND has approved as continuing education providers include Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, and Nestle. Why is this so awful? One session, sponsored by Coca-Cola, taught that aspartame is completely safe; another said that sugar has no impact on behavior in children.
3. At AND’s 2012 annual meeting, its largest gathering of the year, lobbyists for high fructose corn syrup (The Corn Refiners Association) sponsored three sessions for RDs. At another AND nutrition symposium, a “Kids Eat Right Breakfast Series” was sponsored by Kellogg and Pepsi. (Who needs milk on your Froot Loops when you can use soda?)
Here’s hoping the report will pressure AND to clean up its act, so it can do a better job of helping everyone else clean up their diets. —Lisa Elaine Held
Want more info? Download the full report here.